Archive for June 2012

Expressions and memories in the Illawarra

We attended  Wollongong City Gallery this week  to see  the work of Illawarra painter and teacher Ron Lambert. Lambert (1923-1995) was a well – loved teacher at both West  Wollongong TAFE and the National Art School, where he won the admiration and devotion of many students over the years. I remember as a student at West Wollongong myself, hearing about Ron from teachers who knew him. I always got the impression that he was really loved.

His work is certainly impressive, working in a gestural Abstract Expressionist mode, with careful attention to underlying structure.  From the same generation as John Olsen, Arthur Boyd and Robert Dickerson, he possesses some of Boyd’s expressive vigour, as well as an adventurous and passionate relationship with colour. Some of his closely structured pieces reminded me of Jasper Johns.









Stand up close, 1970, oil on canvas, 61 x 92cm












Confront, fancy chip, 1994, oil on canvas, 76 x 76cm


That wasn’t all though. Included in the exhibition was the work of  17 ex-students and friends – all older people now as Lambert died in 1995. They presented work from their time with Ron, and then current work as well. This made for a rich and fascinating show.












Robert Hirschmann, Niemansland, 2011, oil on linen, 183 x 100cm.

Multiple worlds of steam-punk and existentialism.

I was seriously transported on Friday night. I caught the last day of Anita Larkin’s fine solo show at Defiance Gallery Newtown, Improbable Objects. Larkin is an award-winning Illawarra sculptor and felt maker whose work is immaculately crafted, with   a  steam-punk feel.  The crazy, impossible objects she creates are part found-objects and part felt, put together beautifully. They compel you to suspect another world somewhere…just out of view.











Apparatus for the repatriation of tears, 2011


Then around the corner at Gallery Red was the opening night of Stephen Hall’s Kedumba Musings. Hall has an anxious, embattled and sometimes joyous alter ego, Merry-Andrew the Limner, who populates the works  along with his faithful horse. Wavering lines make up these figures,  conveying the illusion of an uncertain grasp on  what are in fact masterful descriptions. The ground and landscape are densely woven ink marks.  As you look more closely, tiny figures emerge. Andrew and his horse are vast in relation to these earth-people. Also on display is Hall’s Dobell Drawing Prize piece from last year, a  fabulous work which reminds me of El Greco.











Stephen Hall, The eternal battle, finalist in last year’s Dobell Drawing Prize at AGNSW.